[Disclaimer: If you are a Southern Baptist and cannot laugh at yourself, please read NO further. The statements below are a light-hearted attempt to satirize that thing we do as Southern Baptists, you know . . .]
Things have really been “heating up” here in SBC world. For the two of you uninformed on the matter, a significant number of leading Southern Baptists have gathered together to form what they are called “the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative” (SBECI). Inspired by a blogger (gasp) and seminary student (double gasp), Jonathan Merritt, this initiative has sought to raise the bar when it comes to involvement in creation care and stewardship of the environment.
I first caught on to this initiative through reading Nathan Finn’s blog, and within hours, the news was being spread on the Drudge Report, New York Times, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, and other major media outlets. The secular interest in this matter is perhaps the greatest regarding Southern Baptists since the days of the Disney boycott. Nevertheless, the official news outlet of denominational executives (X-Comm), Baptist Press, was quick to note that “the seminary student’s climate change project is not SBC’s” (note: the title was changed to leave out “seminary student’s” part in the revised version). At the point, Baptist Press began an all-out media blitz with several articles regarding the climate change initiative, certain that such a matter demanded an authorized (KJV style) version on global warming, as contrasted to that of a “seminary student” and his project. This tit-for-tat battle for who speaks for Southern Baptists raises just another issue on just where and how Southern Baptists define themselves.
So yet again, the SBC is embroiled in another battle, and in the midst of this, we are reminded of one thing that does not change-controversy. In fact, historians have filed this latest issue of climate change as the 2,356 controversy since 1845, surpassed only by the number of resolutions of the SBC.
In an effort to contribute to the media blitz, correspondents from P&P have been asking for statements and responses from leading Southern Baptists regarding this hotly debated issue. Below are the responses we have gathered thus far. As you can clearly see, the issue of climate change has divided the convention and is threatening to kill evangelism-something which neither the other “C’s” (Calvinists and charismatics) have been able to do. That alone says a lot about the power of a changing climate in the SBC atmosphere.
Frank Page: “I think what you see by the events of this week is that we are headed for ‘tumultuous days‘ in the future. In light of this, I look forward to contributing to the conversation with my new book, Trouble with the Thermometer: Taking a Closer Look at Five Tenets of Global Warming (forthcoming by Broadman & Holman).”
Frank Cox: “I have many friends who are concerned about climate change today, and I have no problem discussing these issues. However, what concerns me today is this new strain of aggressive, hyper climate change advocates who are dividing the convention today.”
Richard Land: “This climate change initiative is not the official policy of the Southern Baptist Convention. I am here to tell you that the 2007 Resolution on Global Warming is a sufficient statement for all Southern Baptists, and I am prepared to make a motion in Indianapolis to bring to the convention floor” (that is, the “Land Motion”).
Timmy Brister: “To the best of my estimation, this new PDF compilation I have created will far exceed my ‘Chronicling the Current Controversy of Calvinism in the Convention’ by a good 200 pages.”
Danny Akin: “Regardless of what side you fall, it is imperative that all ministers be honest and transparent with their churches and where they stand on climate change. Simply put: for integrity’s sake, put all your environmental cards on the table. Don’t be deceitful by not telling your church what you believe. If you are for climate change, drive a Prius. If not, then drive your SUV. But don’t pretend to be someone you are not and disrupt the unity of our churches.”
Roger Moran: “I am prepared to go to the Executive Committee with a motion to defund all Southern Baptist Churches who have bought into this clandestine initiative called climate change. This motion must be considered and implemented effective immediately.”
David Dockery: “As Southern Baptists and evangelicals, we are called to have a balanced understanding of our Baptist identity that preserves our distinctives and also provides a biblical worldview that encompasses all areas of life, including climate change.”
Florida Baptist Witness: “Denominational loyalty requires that we make it clear where we stand on climate change, and as Southern Baptists, we are creating a new organization to unite Southern Baptists around creation care in a movement we are calling ‘The Noah Convergence’. More details will be announced, including how you can sign up.”
Tom Ascol: “My dispensational friends have been trying to influence me by checking out their eschatological charts to determine if I am rapture ready, but at this point I remain unconvinced that global warming is a sign of the apocalypse.”
Wiley Drake: “I’m just trying to get the temperature right inside the church, not outside.”
Steve McCoy: “And people wonder why my series, ‘Reasons Why I Hate Us‘ gets so much Google traffic.”
Jerry Vines: “I told you about some ‘Baptist Battles‘ in years past, but this here is a battle for the future. On this issue of climate change, you will find who the real bible-believing conservatives are, and you will also find those who are heading down the road to apostasy.”
Bill Wagner: “As a nominee for President of the Southern Baptist Convention, I realize the importance of climate change among my fellow Southern Baptists, and I am creating a special page on my presidential campaign website to lay our my vision for dealing with such a delicate issue.”
Nathan Finn: “There is a growing problem of stereotypes in the SBC, and when it comes to creation care, it is no different. In the coming days, I am going to start a series for the purpose of setting the record straight about environmental stereotypes.”
Paige Patterson: “The Anabaptists can teach us a great deal about climate change, of that I am sure.”
Ken Silva: “This is clearly evidence that we are living in a Laodicean age. The influence of Brian McLaren, Ron Sider, and Jim Wallis has made God want to spew us out of his mouth.”
Ben Cole: “Two words: Jimmy Carter.”
SBC Evangelists: “We are planning to hold a conference this weekend in Nashville to lament the rise in interest of climate change. Southern Baptists are not about changing the climate but changing lives, not saving trees but saving souls. All eight of us are ready to make our stand on the Great Commission and protest this development.”
Nelson Price: “I really believe that the neo-Calvinists are behind this. Don’t be fooled.”
Ed Stetzer/Thom Rainer: “LifeWay Research has conducted a scientific survey of Southern Baptist pastors and have found that 8.5% of pastors consider themselves Climate Change advocates. Nevertheless, we looking into hosting a new conference this fall, entitled, “Building Bridges: Southern Baptists and Climate Change.”
Florida Baptist Convention: “Through the generous donations of several folks in our state, we are happy to announce that every pastor will be receiving next month a complimentary DVD of Al Gore’s landmark documentary, An Inconvenient Truth in an effort to inform Southern Baptists on the matter.”
Malcolm Yarnell: “I voted for the climate change before I voted against it.”
As you can see, Southern Baptists are battling it out on this matter, and P&P reporters are committed to giving you the accurate and most up-to-date details on all the projects of seminary students and everything else cookin’ in the SBC oven. In the meantime, we now return to our regularly scheduled programming.